If you are a divorced mom leaving Georgia with your children, you may need to obtain permission from their father even if he is not actively involved in their lives. The office of Family Lawyers of Atlanta helps in determining whether you might need to first modify a court order of custody before traveling outside of the Peach State with your kids.
When applying for a passport on behalf of your children under the age of 16, the U.S. Department of State may require that their father provide his signature on an official document. A Georgia resident, for example, planning to travel with her daughter to Cancun applied for a U.S. passport on behalf of her 12-year-old child. Her daughter’s passport application, however, was denied because her father’s signature was missing, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Accordingly, the Department of State requested that the mother provide the father’s signature or a copy of the child custody order to prove that she was the custodial parent.
While the child’s father allegedly did not have any desire to establish a relationship with his daughter, he was still required to provide permission for her to leave the state. Even without a relationship or legal visitation rights, he does, however, make child support payments through the Georgia court system. When there is an order for a father to provide regular support payments, he may have enforceable rights to prohibit a child’s mother from leaving the state with his child without permission.
Traveling without proper documents may not only create problems with the non-custodial parent, but it may also raise issues with airport and U.S. customs officials. Our page on order modifications provides more information about how you may secure the arrangements needed to travel or relocate with your children.